As you may know the last few months I worked on a campaign in my hometown of
Let me tell you…knocking on someone’s door provides you with prime opportunity to figure them out. Of course, there were categories of people, like: “mean, bitter ol’ grouch”, or the folks that would just answer “I don’t know” to every question you asked. Those were the special ones I marked under the “idiot” or “stupid” category, and as I left their door I prayed the Lord kept them from voting on election day. We don’t need any more idiots making decisions for our country. Now, the district we were working in is considered very Democratic. They’ve had Democratic representation in all of their state-level seats for about 8 years. I was pretty intrigued by what I found…and, I’m convinced that
The other group of people I ran into went in the “very angry” category. Angry at the upside-down state of our world. Angry at the government, angry at the banks. Angry at everything in sight. Young people angry they can’t get jobs. Old people angry that their family is moving back in with them. Wives angry that their husbands have been out of work for months. On the one hand, I think that being angry is not necessarily a bad emotion – I saw this anger as very incomplete. People were angry, but had no tools to do anything about the situation. It was actually one of the saddest things I’ve ever seen. This look of wild frustration and total helplessness in the eyes of folks I was conversing with on their door steps. It made me so grateful to have the peace that passes all understanding and confidence in the victory that the Lord has already achieved in my life – and not only that for this world and the one to come.
Growing up removed from many of the cultural norms, I have to say I *was* surprised at what a strong stranglehold 3 things in particular have over the American population at large: the government school system, the right to healthcare, and personal comforts. I don’t know how many times I heard statements like “I don’t care what the government cuts, but I will never vote for anyone who cuts spending to education. In fact, I will pay *more* taxes if it goes to education.” Or, the old lady who is smoking while on oxygen pontificating that “…it’s about time
Well, despite having knocked on hundreds (actually, thousands) of doors…we lost. But, oh, I learned so much. I learned that the only way to fix the problems in a culture is to take the advice of Dodge. Grab it by the horns. We can’t solve problems without facing them. Nor can we solve them without providing solutions. The problems in our culture are so far beyond the “standing around the water cooler and talking about how bad they are” stage. The best way solve the issues in the pseudo-American/Christian culture that everyone seems be in a mad dash to be angry about is to build a new and better culture. Make the old one obsolete by making a better one. One that works. One that values what God made us to value. One that is Biblical. And that takes work. Hard work. Intentional work. Tough decisions. Maybe even crazy ones.
It means seeking to set aside your own comforts and desires at every opportunity. It means pouring your life into the lives of other people. It means confronting their futile thinking and giving them truth, which brings restoration and healing. It means giving children a distinctly Christian education, so they can’t even understand Mathematics without understanding God. It means practicing hospitality – whether we like to or not, because Jesus said to. It means being peacemakers. It means approaching healthcare from a Biblical perspective of responsibility and bearing one another’s burdens. It means changing our perspective of family to include orphans and widows because we are the orphans Jesus chose to save for His own glory and no merit of our own.
It doesn’t mean making a hide-out and separating ourselves from the world. It doesn’t mean eating granola, wearing denim jumpers and driving 15 passenger vans. Those might all be good things, but they’re not the answers. What we’re doing – by the grace of God – is so much bigger than that. It’s brick by brick taking a hopeless culture apart and replacing it, brick by brick, with hope.